Utah Valley University strengthens cooperation with Kyrgyzstan through Mountain Partnership

Utah Valley University (UVU) faculty and students at Osh market

Utah Valley University delegation, comprised of six students and two faculty members, visited Kyrgyzstan through a study abroad program during August 2-12, 2019. The delegation included: Dr. Lynn England, director, Peace and Justice Program; Dr. Baktybek Abdrisaev, lecturer, department of history and political science and students: Hannah Elizabeth Peay, Sarah May Michaelis, Hayley Michelle Conant, Victoria Ann Bindrup, Graham Nicholas Taggart, and Steven Barrett Thompson.

The main goal of the visit was to get delegation members acquainted with the process of strengthening Kyrgyzstan as an independent nation, including the study of its history and culture. Additionally, the visit allowed UVU to strengthen cooperation established since 2006 with several partners in Kyrgyzstan, through the angle of joint advocacy of the United Nations sustainable mountain development (SMD) agenda.

Before coming to Kyrgyzstan, the UVU delegation visited Moscow under the same program by the invitation of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences (RANS). During the visit to Moscow from July 24 until August 1, 2019, delegation members were able to learn more about different aspects of political and economic life in Russia and also to discuss further cooperation between UVU and RANS at the United Nations Economic and Social Council to advocate jointly the UN SMD agenda.

Information agency “Kabar” provided hosts services to organize meetings for the American delegation with local academic partners, representatives of business, political scientists and officials of the country.

Within the cultural activities of the itinerary, UVU faculty and students have the opportunity to get acquainted with places of interest in Bishkek, like visiting museums and orphanages in the capital of the country. Delegates visited Ala-Archa gorge as well.

UVU faculty and students and their hosts at Ala-Archa gorge

During the meeting with Mr. Almazbek Akmataliev, director of the Academy of Public Administration under the President of the Kyrgyz Republic, UVU students were able to learn about administrative system of the Kyrgyz Republic, training of the personnel in the country and the role used by the Academy in reforming administrative system of the country.

UVU delegation members and their hosts during the meeting with Mr. Almazbek Akmataliev, director of the Academy of Public Administration under the President of the Kyrgyz Republic

During the meeting with director of Kyrgyz National Kabar News Agency, Mr. Kubanychbek Taabaldiev informed the UVU delegation about the role of media in the advancement of reforms within the country, including in the improvement of livelihoods of the mountain communities, alongside their development and cooperation with media outlets in other mountain nations.

UVU delegation members and their hosts during the meeting with Mr. Kubanychbek Taabaldiev, director of Kabar News Agency

Dr. Almazbek Atabekov, Chair, Department of Management at Osh Technological University  informed UVU delegation  about history of Osh, cooperation of the OshTU with other mountain countries and especially with academic institutions in Central Asian region. He also reported about cooperation, established since 2012 between OshTU and UVU; at that time the two academic institutions joint hosted in the Osh city international conference on the impact of climate change on the lives of the mountain communities. In addition, he outlined main priorities in a mutually beneficial cooperation between OshTU and UVU in the areas of SMD, especially water, environmental issues, etc.

UVU delegation members during the meeting with Dr. Almazbek Atabekov, Chair, Department of management at Osh Technological University

During the meeting with Dr. Dr. Bolot Moldobekov, co-director of the Central Asian Institute of Applied Geosciences, American faculty and students were able to learn new data about the impact of the climate change as an emerging challenge for the mountain countries, and Kyrgyzstan in particular. Dr. Moldobekov also dedicated time to the report by using the Kyrgyz Republic as an example, about scientific solutions for different challenges faced by the mountain countries.

UVU delegation members during the meeting with Dr. Bolot Moldobekov, co-director of the Central Asian Institute of Applied Geosciences

During the meeting with Ms. Nurgul Asanova, Vice-Chair of the Supreme Court of the Kyrgyz Republic,UVU delegates learned about judicial system of the Kyrgyz Republic and its differences from the ones in neighboring countries. She also shared information about current reform in the judicial branch of power, structure of the Supreme Court, and about its main activities. In turn, students inquired about the level of confidence among the populace to the courts and what kind of measures are undertaken to increase it.

UVU delegation members during the meeting with Ms. Nurgul Asanova, Vice-Chair of the Supreme Court of the Kyrgyz Republic

UVU delegation visit to Kyrgyzstan would be incomplete without meeting with representatives of business. For that purpose, UVU delegates visited the office of the International Business Council of KyrgyzstanMr. Askar Sydykov, its executive director described the role of business in the economic development of Kyrgyzstan. He also shared information about conditions, created in the country to attract large business companies, challenges, experienced by businesses in this mountain country and what is undertaken for development of business in Kyrgyzstan.

UVU delegation members during the meeting with Mr. Askar Sydykov, executive director of the International Business Council of Kyrgyzstan

UVU delegation used an opportunity to visit a new campus of the American University in Central Asia. AUCA manager Diora Khakimhodjaeva served them as a campus tour guide and informed them about universities education programs.

UVU students during the tour at the campus of the American University in Central Asia.

During the meeting with Mr. Harry Linden, head of USAID in the Kyrgyz Republic, UVU delegates learned what kind of assistance is provided by the US administration to promote reforms in the Kyrgyz Republic; major programs functioning and implemented in the country and in the mountain regions in particular. Mr. Linden also described USAID plans for the future.

UVU delegation members after the meeting with Mr. Harry Linden, head of USAID in the Kyrgyz Republic

Mr. Maksat Damir Uulu, head of the Department of tourism under the Ministry of Culture of the Kyrgyz Republic informed UVU delegation about tourism development in Kyrgyzstan, as a country located at the Great Silk Road. He also described major activities of the department to implement the program of development of tourism in the country.

UVU delegation members after the meeting with Mr. Maksat Damir Uulu, head of the Department of tourism under the Ministry of Culture of the Kyrgyz Republic.

During the meeting with Mr. Edil Osmonbetov, international affair expert, UVU faculty and students learned about foreign policy of the Kyrgyz Republic since the country’s independence. The Kyrgyz expert described in detail about major challenges which the country has faced while strengthening its independence and major efforts undertaken for the development of a full-fledged democratic society in the country.

UVU delegation members and hosts after the meeting with Mr. Edil Osmonbetov, political expert

During the visit to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the UVU delegation was informed about the role of the Ministry in development of cooperation with the United States. Mr. Seyit Ubukeev, director of the fifth political department of the MFA informed delegates about activities of his department under the umbrella of the Mountain Partnership, including a cooperation with other mountain countries. Mr. Karybaev Mirbek, MFA desk officer for the United States informed UVU delegates about main activities in bilateral cooperation with USA.

UVU delegation members and hosts during the meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic

UVU delegation also met with Mr. Parhat Tulendybaev, deputy of the Kyrgyz Parliament from the party «Republic-Ata-Jurt». Mr. Tulendybaev informed students and faculty about activities of the Parliament, its peculiarities, and specifics of the lawmaking process in the country.

UVU delegation members during the meeting with Mr. Parhat Tulendybaev, deputy of the Parliament of the Kyrgyz Republic

The UVU delegation was provided an opportunity to visit Issyk-Kul lake and on the way there to see Burana Tower, which belongs to the epoch of the Karakhanid empire of the XI century near the city Tokmok. At the Issyk-Kul lake, the UVU delegation met Mr. Danir Imanaliev, head of Issyk-Kul State Administration. Mr. Imanaliev informed guests about his region, measures undertaken to develop tourism and cooperation with other mountain nations and sister-cities, including with the State of Washington in the United States.

UVU delegation members and their hosts during the meeting with Mr. Danir Imanaliev, head of the Issyk-Kul region

During the meeting with Mr. Kurmanbek Diykanbaev, Plenipotentiary Representative of the President to the Parliament of the Kyrgyz Republic, the UVU delegation learned about experiences of Kyrgyzstan in the development of its parliamentary democracy. Mr. Diykanbaev reported also about the initiative of the President of Kyrgyzstan, to develop regions of the country, which resulted in declaring 2018 as the Year of Development of Regions of the country, and 2019 – as the Year of Development and Digitization of Regions. He also informed UVU delegates about their achievements within the latest initiatives of the head of state.

UVU delegation members after the meeting with Mr. Kurmanbek Diykanbaev, Plenipotentiary Representative of the President to the Parliament of the Kyrgyz Republic

A very brief but intense visit of UVU faculty and students to the Kyrgyz Republic was finished on August 12, 2019. Knowledge and experiences gained during numerous presentations and meetings with officials, experts, businessman and by personally observing political life in the country, demonstrated to UVU delegates that the Kyrgyz Republic continues and intends to continue its uneasy path of building a democratic society despite numerous economic, political, and environmental challenges and obstacles. Both sides expressed their desire to continue their joint cooperation to improve economic conditions of mountain communities in both countries through educational programs with youth involvement in particular.

UVU delegation members and their hosts at Ruh Ordo Cultural Center, Issyk Kul Lake

Ermek Abdrisaev

Kabar News Agency

***

STUDENT REFLECTIVE ESSAYS

***

Victoria Bindrup-UVU Students Visit Kyrgyz Republic

***